Diarmuid O'Connor made Mayo believe with a moment that will go down in GAA history 10 months ago

Diarmuid O'Connor made Mayo believe with a moment that will go down in GAA history

Five points down with only seven minutes to go, most players would have taken their beating and they'd have said to hell with it.

From the minute it left his boot, Robbie Hennelly's free was destined for nothing else other than a wide-ball but Diarmuid O'Connor saw things differently. In fairness, from the day he left parts of his body in the Newbridge ground to here in Croke Park, he always has.


Diarmuid O'Connor isn't like most players because, with the tongue wagging, the legs firing and the chest beating, the Ballintubber man has something inside him that craves work, that lives for hardship, that never says die. All around the place, Dublin might have looked like champions, Mayo might have looked like they were dying but as that ball sailed for the end-line, the lost cause of all lost causes, Diarmuid O'Connor looked like he'd never been so alive.

It was a 20 yard burst so whole-hearted and so full of spirit, guts and determination that this whole situation turned upside-down in an instant. If Dublin didn't know before, they certainly knew now that Mayo were here and that they still believed. Just seconds later, as if inspired by the courage of it all, Kevin McLoughlin showed calmness and composure to kick the score that gave Mayo a pulse again.

Suddenly, Dublin started to second guess.


In the next half an hour, from the Conor Lane show to Robbie Hennelly's redemption to Tommy Conroy's coming of age, everything went wild but nothing changed. Because ever since Diarmuid O'Connor's moment of inspiration, Mayo believed and they believed like never before.


And so after seven years, 45 games and six All-Irelands, Mayo have done the impossible. How fitting that a moment of sheer grit from one of their best players was the moment that brought them there.